Photo: @rudyhernandez_ via Twitter
We get it, parenting can be frustrating—especially when your kid refuses to eat the meal you just put some serious elbow grease into. But beating your kid's stuffed animal to scare them into eating is not cool. In fact, we'd say it's psychologically abusive.
For those who haven't seen these disturbing videos on the internet, some parents are offering food to their kids' stuffed animals and then violently beating the stuffie when it "refuses" to eat. After seeing their parents throwing punches, the child then accepts the food—clearly out of fear that they'll be beaten, too, if they don't eat it. Yikes.
Here are some examples (but be warned, these videos may be disturbing to some viewers):
While many people on the internet found the videos funny, we definitely do not. Don't you see the fear in those kids' eyes? Threatening your child with violence is not okay, and while the parents in these videos are only hitting stuffed animals, they're sending their kids a clear message that if they don't eat the food that's being offered, they could be next.
It's possible these parents would never actually do that to their children, but by beating the stuffies into submission, they're telling their kids that they just might if they push them far enough.
If you're thinking, Well, it does seem to work, keep in mind that it works in the same way that spanking your kids can sometimes "work." It scares your kid into behaving. The lasting negative effects on a child's emotional development and the breach of trust in their parents far outweigh the effectiveness of the tactic.
Besides, there are plenty of ways to get kids to eat in a positive way. For example, Christopher Duett, who is a dad of two, used positive reinforcement to get his two-year-old to eat—and he even used a stuffie, too!
"I couldn’t understand why so many people could find such a tactic humorous or acceptable behaviour for a parent to engage in towards a young child," Duett told Buzzfeed News. "I just wanted parents who were influenced by the other video to consider the approach that I used."
Kids need to know that they're safe and can trust their parents. Using fear to coerce them into doing what we want them to do is counterproductive and will only teach them the wrong lessons about relationships and interacting with other people. It's a cliché, but it's true: Violence is never the answer. Especially when little kids are involved.